Before going on stage, Zhang Jue listened to the team captain and his teammates talking.
“Everyone needs to be mentally prepared. This time… we are doing a non-combat.”
They are all idol trainees from “Dreaming Youth 307.” Before the competition, they each underwent at least two years of training in their respective companies, and their skills were considered good among the contestants. Originally, there was a good chance of a successful debut, but they couldn’t resist the CEO’s biological son, Yun Si who also joined the talent show.
Speaking of Yun Si he was now considered a legendary figure in the talent show world. Halfway through the competition, he started dating a mentor and frequently engaged in ambiguous acts with other male contestants. Various ‘ships’ pairings became popular, and with the efforts of the marketing team, even before the end of the competition, the money-making method of harvesting fans through these pairings already made him famous in the industry.
The tactic of promoting ‘ships’ was taken to the extreme by Yun Si’s behind-the-scenes team.
As people raised to higher positions, popularity moved to lower places. The original team’s main vocalist, rap prince, and main dance changed their mind and already promised to join Yun Si tea. With their team’s strength greatly reduced and a few members brought in to help temporarily not having high popularity rankings, coupled with insufficient rehearsal time, their performance might not turn out well.
Sha Cheng consoled the team captain: “Brother Li, it’s okay. After entering this circle, we have to be prepared to face these things.”
But the most unfortunate person was actually Zhang Jue.
He discreetly glanced at the cold and indifferent young man leaning against the wall, his eyes downcast, feeling a touch of regret.
Zhang Jue was originally one of the most promising contestants. His facial features were handsome, and he had a pair of high-cold phoenix eyes. Combined with his aloof temperament, he was undoubtedly the top visual contestant in this competition.
Not only that, he was the only contestant in the competition with the power to astonish with his rock singing. His singing abilities reached a level that made other lungs ache. Yesterday, he had participated in team rehearsals with his teammates and then practiced dancing alone for eight hours, displaying an effort that was truly commendable.
Unfortunately, no matter how hard he tried, Zhang Jue couldn’t overcome the power of marketing. Currently, it seems that Yun Si’s team was about to take all the debut spots. Zhang Jue fans ware quite spirited, managing to get him close to the debut positions. However, Zhang Jue always fallen short of a few dozen votes from the last debut spot, and those who knew the insider information know why.
It’s because Zhang Jue didn’t want to engage in promotional pairings. Not only did he reject Yun Si’s attempts to recruit him, but he also physically confronted the young executive from Sky Entertainment. Even though there’s no scandal, after this talent show ends, Zhang Jue was already destined to be sidelined.
At this moment, Yun Si team has already finished their performance, and it’s now their turn to go on stage. Zhang Jue stood on the lift with his head lowered. As his gaze rises, a few young and handsome boys also stood with their backs to the audience, silently on the stage.
As the lights change and the music begins, Zhang Jue turns around, his gaze sharp. As he opens his mouth, a clear high note emerges, and his magnificent metal voice gives listeners goosebumps.
Their song choice was an intense dance track, but after the captain’s adaptation, the demands on the lead singer became very high. However, if performed well, it could create a more stunning effect.
Surprisingly, this person who probably hadn’t slept for almost 20 hours, still managed to sound
Teammates also become excited, giving their all to deliver a spectacular performance to the audience.
At this moment, Zhang Jue was tired, but he was also enjoying himself.
The overly bright lights made him feel warm but as the cheers of the crowd entered his ears they lifted his spirits continuously.
Since losing his family, he often found himself trapped in a lonely emotion from which he couldn’t break free. In the end, he could only channel all those negative emotions into his performances.
He loved to sing, loved to dance, and enjoyed hearing his fans cheering for him. It would be even better if they were only watching him. This way, he felt like he wasn’t alone.
Unfortunately, this joyful journey was coming to an end soon, so he had to burn himself even more to make this ending a bit less regrettable!
At this moment, a guitar solo began, marking the stage for the team’s powerful dance segment.
Though the young man wasn’t standing at the forefront of the team at this moment, the intensity of his movements, the expressive power in his body gestures, and his fierce expression, along with the glistening sweat, made everyone uncontrollably focus their gaze on him.
At this moment, he was the king of the stage!
As the performance came to an end, Zhang Jue stood at the forefront of the team, full of reluctance. He held the microphone and forced himself to smile.
“Everyone, being able to come to this stage and meet you all is really fantastic, very unforgettable for me. Your voices, your support, are the most precious gifts to me.”
Then he put down the microphone, placed both hands by his mouth, tilted his head back, and shouted with all his might using only his voice.
“Thank you all—”
Screams erupted, and many girls excitedly held up light boards with Zhang Jue’s name, crying as they responded to him.
“Thank you, Brother Jue!”
“Brother Jue is the best!”
“Brother Jue, I will love you forever!”
Zhang Jue took a deep breath and bowed deeply to the audience.
Perhaps after today, the backstage might separate them, but at this moment, he was immensely grateful to have met these lovely people.
Backstage, the staff’s faces changed as they looked at the voting data.
He urgently shouted: “Boss, Zhang Jue votes are about to explode!”
The producer hurried over, squinting at the screen, and finally let out a deep sigh.
Originally, Zhang Jue’s real vote count was in the top three, higher than many who secretly manipulated votes. Now, it was soaring to first place. His strength in every aspect was top-notch, and his potential was enormous. With sincere support, reaching the top of the industry would not longer be just a dream.
The benefits represented by top-notch talent were astonishing, but who would be willing to clash with money?
“If we can’t control it, then let it be.”
On stage, just as he stood up, Zhang Jue suddenly felt his vision blur. His body slowly tilted forward, just before losing consciousness, he heard his teammates’ worried exclamations.
In 2022, at the age of 24, Zhang Jue passed away on his beloved stage, like a shooting star falling before dawn.
“Tomorrow, when taking little Jue to school, take him to eat at that newly opened steamed rice roll place, he will like it.”
“Remember to add an extra egg; practicing dance is strenuous, so he needs extra nourishment.”
The faint conversation made Zhang Jue open his eyes in a daze. He was lying on a warm and soft bed, with a man and a woman sitting at the edge of the bed, quietly discussing matters related to him.
They were both attractive people—a tall and handsome man and a graceful and delicate woman.
In this moment, memories rushed back, and Zhang Jue’s mind cleared up. He recognized them as his family—stepfather Xu Yan and birth mother Zhang Qingyan.
Accompanied by the murmurs of his parents, Zhang Jue drifted back to sleep peacefully.
He felt like he had just had a beautiful dream.
It wasn’t until the next day, when the blanket was lifted, that Zhang Jue was pulled up by his mom, his ears twisted as he entered the bathroom with a bewildered expression. Looking at the child in the mirror, who appeared to be no more than 12 years old, he finally expressed his shock.
Standing at less than 1.6 meters, with an undeepened, tender child’s voice… even the black hair untouched by dye, all indicated a fact.
Outside the door, his mother was preparing to pack a school bag for Xu Dela. Yes, Xu Dela was Zhang Jue’s younger brother.
Zhang Qingyan and Xu Yan were an unexpected couple. After divorcing her abusive ex-husband and taking care of baby Zhang Jue, Zhang Qingyan met Xu Yan. Despite Xu Yan’s excellent background, he chose to be with Zhang Qingyan, a divorced woman with a child, breaking ties with his family and taking her back to his hometown in Northeast China.
In Zhang Jue’s memory, they initially worked odd jobs and later borrowed money to open a small restaurant. As life prospered, they added a brother to their little family, three years younger than him, named Xu Dela. Named by their mother who was fascinated with Greek mythology.
His stepfather Xu Yan was a good person. Even after having a son with Zhang Qingyan, he still cherished Zhang Jue, making efforts to send him to the best elementary school in the city. When he discovered Zhang Jue’s artistic talent, he even enrolled him in vocal and ballet lessons.
One weekend, the couple picked up Xu Dela from his violin class and were about to pick up Zhang Jue from his ballet class. They had planned to go ice skating at a mall in the city that day. However, a sudden car accident took their lives, leaving Zhang Jue alone.
Stepping out of the room, looking at his parents busying themselves in the kitchen, and Xu Dela sitting at the table eating a bun, Zhang Jue finally came to his senses.
Nine-year-old Xu Dela saw Zhang Jue, and his slender phoenix eyes lit up. He then waved at Zhang Jue.
“Brother Jue, come and have some pan-fried wheat cake, these pan-fried wheat cakes taste great.”
Zhang Jue slowly sat next to him, took a sip of soy milk first as Xu Dela already started talking to him.
“Brother, my back itches; can you scratch it for me?”
Zhang Jue asked: “Has it been itching for a long time? Why don’t you let Mom help you scratch it?”
Xu Dela looked helpless: “She and Dad are being affectionate; I don’t dare to disturb them.”
Zhang Jue silently scratched his back a few times, and Xu Dela who finally felt relieved, immediately peeled a boiled egg for his brother.
In the room filled with warmth, his brother’s silly laughter… all of this made Zhang Jue feel as if he were in a daze.
He looked at the calendar.
It was now January 2, 2010, 7:25 AM. Three hours and twenty minutes before he lost this warm family.
Zhang Jue made a decision. Regardless of whether this was a dream or not, when he went downstairs today, he wouldn’t walk down, he needed to roll down.
Not only did he have to roll down, but he also had to roll down with momentum and force, conservatively estimating that he needed to sprain his ankle. This way, he wouldn’t have to go to ballet class, and his family wouldn’t be on the way to pick him up but sent to the underworld by a drunk truck driver.
If he could go directly into the hospital, making his parents go with him today and not being able to go anywhere else, that would be even better.
Zhang Jue was a determined man. It was because of this determination that he became the actual strongest contender in “Dreaming Boys 307,” almost breaking into the debut position without manipulating scores or watering down votes.
He lived in an elevator building, but because they lived on the second floor, and the whole family was too lazy to wait for the elevator, they mostly used the staircase which provided a significant help for Zhang Jue’s plan.
After going out, while his parents and Xu Dela were still tying their shoelaces, he decisively stepped into space, rolling down like a small spinning top.
On the first day of his rebirth, Zhang Jue successfully sent himself to the hospital. Reason: Multiple soft tissue abrasions all over his body.